ZEF Bonn hosts a weekly public lecture series. This February, I was privileged to be invited to speak on transforming one’s research interests into advocacy. Giving any public talk is equal parts exhilarating, and equal parts terrifying. Thankfully, the stellar team at ZEF Bonn was gracious, welcoming and made this event one for the books.
ZEF is an international, trans-disciplinary research and higher education institute with a broad perspective on development research, based in UN-city Bonn. Bonn is about 80 Kilometres away from Dusseldorf, my current city. Thankfully, there are numerous high speed trains that make the commute collapse into a sub two hour lap.
So excited was I to get there, though, that I missed my stop at BONN UN CAMPUS and instead found myself at BONN HBF, the main station of this picture pretty, green city. To my relief, a bus was leaving for the same location I missed and within 10 minutes I was enjoying the crisp winter breeze at the Bonn ZEF campus.
The talk I gave outlined my experience with community based participatory research, and the ways that listening to people and responding to their concerns remains a critical part of the research-to-advocate timeline. My experience bringing new media to community advocacy through Women and Girls Lead Kenya, as well as podcasting stories of social change via This I Can Do played a major part of my discussions. As a gender equality advocate, this talk reminded me that the work of ensuring women and the vulnerable are a priority is just beginning.
The talk aside, I was privileged to meet and share a ZEF lunch with Dr. Isimemen Osemwegie, a fantastic African senior researcher of biodiversity conservation who wonderfully welcomed and led me through the day. It is always so joyful to meet fellow African women, and inspiring to learn more about the ways we are making meaningful contributions to the world. I also had a chance to meet senior researcher Dr. Timo Falkenberg who is a health geographer working on among other projects, ‘Urban transformation and One Health’ As a graduate of the Growth and Structure of Cities program at Bryn Mawr College and urban public health from Columbia University in the City of New York, this was an insightful conversation on urban health in Africa and Asia.
I look forward to sharing more insights through speaking engagements. To invite me to speak worldwide: https://josephinekarianjahi.com/speaker/